All In 4 Health: #Allin4health #health4all #minding your wellbeing #healthawareness

By Dr T W Changamire


Let me begin by stating that the absence of disease is not health. Going back to the definition of Health, the World health organisation states that health is a state of physical, mental and social wellbeing and not the absence of disease. Knowing about health disorders and not actively going for screening or not taking measures to prevent illness may eventually lead to illness.

Your wellbeing does not only refer to treatment and restoration of health in the event of ill health but it also refers to the protection and preservation of health by prevention of illness. Protection of health can be achieved by educating and empowering the community to make informed decisions about their health.

A community-based approach that extends to all community members, which is acceptable, accessible, and affordable and is based on current evidence-based practices is an effective approach to achieving health and wellness.

How do we get there? How do we become healthy as a community? Every individual has a responsibility of taking care of their own health. Health workers have a responsibility of ensuring that individuals have access to correct health information, affordable safe, and acceptable health services. Health workers and community members need to work hand in hand to improve health in the community.



On one hand health workers need to provide quality, affordable health services on the other hand community members need to exercise good health-seeking behaviours. Improving health is not about curing people and restoring their ability to function, a healthy community is a community that aims to prevent disease by keeping up to date with information on health conditions and going for regular screening and practising good eating and exercise habits.

Unfortunately, the needs of people in communities are often not met. Health needs are sometimes not met because health facilities are not readily available or accessible. Other barriers to health include of religious beliefs in a specific community, cultural backgrounds, school environments, or work environments that are not health conscious or enabling.

Health status of certain age groups maybe worse of when compared to other age groups. For example, the working demographic is often left out in community health activities. These individuals are mostly at work. If the work environment does not carry out health promotion activities this demographic is missed.



Although they are working they might not necessarily be able to subscribe to medical aid. In most cases they don’t present to general practitioners for basic health services like general medical check-up and screening in the private sector due to cost and also they don’t present to public service primary health centres because the understanding in the community is if you do not suffer from any chronic illness or are not acutely ill you should not go to a primary health centre.

Another reason for not presenting to a primary health centre is that the community also understands that public service setups are congested with people who are actually ill. So this demographic does not have access to screening services and the environment discourages them to take control of their health.

Another demographic that is in need of more health services is the adolescent population. Adolescents, in general, shy away from health services for various reasons.

Some of these reasons include, poor health-seeking behaviours in this population because of the belief that they are young and so to them they are a healthy population, lack of adolescent-friendly services, lack of integrated health services for adolescents, staff attitudes at public facilities, fear of judgement by friends just to mention a few.



Adolescents have to be made aware of common illnesses affecting them, sexual and reproductive health, and determinants of health in their age group. They are also encouraged to go in for screening especially HIV, STI screening and mental health screening.

Mental health is important in achieving overall health. Mental disorders are on the rise and they are affecting all age groups. In adolescents, a lot of mental disorders are attributed to using illegal substances.

Substance used disorders present with a wide spectrum of symptoms. Other factors that contribute to mental disorders in this age group include; increased screen time, reduced outdoor activities or inactivity and poor consumption of healthy foods. Consumption of junk food also leads to obesity, hypertension, diabetes and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

There is need for greater efforts to be made by health workers and by the community at large in achieving health. I encourage health workers to mobilise resources, come together and promote health in communities and provide services to community members with a greater goal of preventing health.



I also encourage community members to take advantage of the available community health programs and go in for health screening, attend health fairs and health talks, go for park runs or hiking, participate in community health challenges.

These programs may be conducted by private health workers or public sector health workers. Everyone has a role to play in achieving health. And remember the fact that you have not been diagnosed with a health condition does not equate to you being healthy especially if you have not been screened. Screening saves lives.

Health is achieved by staying informed, going in for physical and mental health screening at regular intervals, practicing healthy eating habits and healthy exercise habits. Absence of disease does not equate to health.



Contact All In 4 Health – Dr TW Ngwenya Changamire – for General Medical Consultation, Health Screening, Medical Check-up, Health Education and Promotion. The Glen Marais Shopping Centre, 57 Veld Street, Glen Marais, Kempton park 1619











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